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Teen Driver Accidents

Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyers Helping Residents of Ocala

Getting a driver's license is often a rite of passage in a teenager's life. Unfortunately, motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death among American teenagers. For every mile they travel, teen drivers are four times as likely as older drivers to be involved in a car crash or collision. The biggest factor in these accidents is driver inexperience. Accordingly, parents need to take precautionary measures before giving or loaning their car to a teen driver and be aware of certain liability issues when allowing a child to drive. If you have been involved in a car accident in Ocala that was caused by a teen driver, the experienced attorneys at the Dean Law Firm can help you pursue compensation.

Holding a Negligent Teen Drivers Accountable for a Crash

Florida uses a graduated driver's license system for teenagers. At 15 years old, a teenager qualifies for a learner license. While holding this license, he or she can drive during daylight hours for the first 90 days and up to 10:00 p.m. after the first 90 days. An adult who is 21 years old or older must sit in the seat next to the teen driver while he or she is driving. At 16 years old, a teen can hold an operator or intermediate license if he or she has held a valid learner license for one year without being convicted of a traffic-related offense. He or she can drive between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and must be accompanied by an adult of at least 21 years old at any time outside that time frame. The exception is when driving to or from work. At 18 years old, a teenager is eligible for a full privileges license.

In Florida, a parent can be held accountable for a teenage driver's negligence. By signing the license for a driver under age 18, a parent consents to take responsibility for his or her teen. Moreover, under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine, an automobile owner can be liable for a vehicle’s negligent operation even if he or she was not driving it at the time of the accident.

A parent can only limit liability by securing sufficient insurance and making sure a teenager is responsible enough to handle driving. Moreover, it can be helpful to restrict a teenager's driving to driving to and from school and work, and limiting the number of passengers to whom the teenager is permitted to give a ride.

It is common for another driver's insurer to try to find fault with a victim’s driving when an accident occurs. However, in many cases, both drivers were to blame for a collision. In some states, an at-fault driver can be barred from recovering if he or she reaches a threshold degree of responsibility for an accident. However, Florida follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which requires the jury to evaluate the total damages and assign a percentage of responsibility to all parties alleged to be at fault. An injured person can potentially recover even if he or she is more than 50% responsible for the accident.

Enlist an Experienced Ocala Attorney after a Car Accident

At the Dean Law Firm, our injury lawyers can represent Ocala residents and others throughout central Florida who have been hurt in a teen driver accident. Many of our clients have come from Crystal River and other communities in Lake, Sumter, Marion, Levy, and Citrus Counties. We are aggressive advocates who can take your case to trial if necessary. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or via our online form.